President Donald Trump and Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto had an hour-long conservation on the telephone today just a day after news came that a scheduled visit by the Mexican leader to the White House had been cancelled. This came in the midst of negotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement, of which Trump has been a distinct critic. After the telephone conversation, the two countries released statements about the phone call.
 
The statement released by the White House is entitled “Joint State on U.S.-Mexico Relations,” while as translated into English, a statement by the Mexican president is entitled simply “The presidents of Mexico and the United States had a telephone call.” There are additional differences in the message conveyed by each document.
 
The statement released by the US side declared that the two leaders had a “constructive call regarding the bilateral relationship,” the “current trade deficit,” as well as cooperation on stopping drug cartels and smuggling and the illegal trafficking of arms.
 
It said that the two leaders “recognize their clear and very public differences of positions on this issue but have agreed to work these differences out as part of a comprehensive discussion on all aspects of the bilateral relationship.” The statement goes on to say that the diplomatic teams of each country have been instructed to continue dialogue.
 
It is here where there is a substantive difference between the “joint statement” and the statement released by the Mexican president. Where the “joint statement” declares that there will be “comprehensive discussion,” the statement by the Mexican president declares, “The Presidents also agreed at this point not to speak publicly about this controversial issue.”
 
Normally, joint statements are carefully worked out in the official languages of each country by diplomats and expert translators. Whether the Mexican statement is merely a mistranslation is yet to be revealed.
 
At White House news conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May, when Trump was asked about the call, he said it was "very, very friendly." However, he said that will continue taking a pro-American approach to trade with Mexico. "Mexico," he affirmed, " ... has out-negotiated us and beat us to a pulp through our past leaders,"
 
"They have made us look foolish."
 
Trump reiterated that he wants to strengthen the border and improve employment prospects at home. "We're no longer going to be the country that doesn't know what it's doing," Trump said.
 
Joint Statement on U.S.-Mexico Relations as released by the White House
 
The United States President Donald J. Trump and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto spoke by phone this morning for an hour.  The call was mutually arranged by their teams.  
 
The two had a productive and constructive call regarding the bilateral relationship between the two countries, the current trade deficit the United States has with Mexico, the importance of the friendship between the two nations, and the need for the two nations to work together to stop drug cartels, drug trafficking and illegal guns and arms sales.
 
With respect to payment for the border wall, both presidents recognize their clear and very public differences of positions on this issue but have agreed to work these differences out as part of a comprehensive discussion on all aspects of the bilateral relationship. 
 
Both presidents have instructed their teams to continue the dialogue to strengthen this important strategic and economic relationship in a constructive way.
 
The statement of President Enrique Pena Nieto of Mexico in translation:
 
The Presidents of Mexico and the United States held a telephone conversation today
 
Both Presidents have instructed their teams to continue the dialogue to strengthen this important strategic and economic relationship in a constructive way.
 
The President of the Republic, Enrique Peña Nieto, and the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, held a one-hour telephone call this morning. The call was agreed by their work teams.
 
The presidents had a constructive and productive conversation about the bilateral relationship between the two countries, including the United States of America trade deficit with Mexico, the importance of friendship between our nations, and the need for our countries to work together to stop drug trafficking and the illegal flow of arms.
 
With regard to the payment of the border wall, both Presidents acknowledged their clear and very public differences in position on this sensitive issue and agreed to resolve these differences as part of a comprehensive discussion of all aspects of the bilateral relationship. The Presidents also agreed at this point not to speak publicly about this controversial issue.
 
Both Presidents have instructed their teams to continue the dialogue to strengthen this important strategic and economic relationship in a constructive way.
 
The statement of President Enrique Pena Nieto of Mexico in its original Spanish, as released by the Presidency of the Republic:
 
Los Presidentes de México y Estados Unidos sostuvieron hoy una conversación telefónica
 
Ambos Presidentes han instruido a sus equipos a continuar el diálogo para fortalecer esta importante relación estratégica y económica de manera constructiva.
 
El Presidente de la República, Enrique Peña Nieto, y el Presidente de los Estados Unidos, Donald J. Trump, sostuvieron una llamada telefónica de una hora, hoy por la mañana. La llamada fue acordada por sus equipos de trabajo.
 
Los Presidentes tuvieron una conversación constructiva y productiva en torno a la relación bilateral entre ambos países, incluyendo el tema del déficit comercial de Estados Unidos de América con México, la importancia de la amistad entre nuestras naciones, y la necesidad de que nuestros países trabajen juntos para detener el tráfico de drogas y el flujo ilegal de armas.
 
Con respecto al pago del muro fronterizo, ambos Presidentes reconocieron sus claras y muy públicas diferencias de posición en este tema tan sensible, y acordaron resolver estas diferencias como parte de una discusión integral de todos los aspectos de la relación bilateral. Los Presidentes también convinieron por ahora ya no hablar públicamente de este controversial tema.
 
Ambos Presidentes han instruido a sus equipos a continuar el diálogo para fortalecer esta importante relación estratégica y económica de manera constructiva.
 


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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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